Major Renovations Underway at North Clarion High School Library
(Pictured above: Renovations underway at the North Clarion High School Library. Photos courtesy of Ed Baumcratz)
Principal Ed Baumcratz told exploreClarion.com that the renovations started as soon as the academic year ended and will continue through the summer.
“They are renovating the entire library and even taking some walls out,” Baumcratz said.
“We had three conference rooms, and we’re still going to have one for independent studies and for College in the Classroom classes, but we’re opening up the other two to make a much larger space and even adding a small cafe in there.”
According to Baumcratz, over the last year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the library was utilized more as a classroom than a library, with larger classes being held there to allow for social distancing.
“COVID hit our kids hard. It hit all kids hard, to be honest. But, it is going to be nice for them to come back to this beautifully renovated space where they can come in from a study hall, relax, and grab a cold drink or a hot cup of coffee, and enjoy a good book.”
He noted the library will have an open area, an area set up as a classroom space, and an enclosed outdoor patio where students can read, with picnic tables and lounge chairs, and even a cornhole game.
The attached computer lab is also getting an update.
“Our maker-space/computer lab will be able to accommodate kids working on Science Olympiad projects or robotic projects as well as for utilizing our 3D printers that we purchased last year.”
Baumcratz said the improvements will make a difference in many ways.
“Our high school library is one of the most used rooms in our school district. Our school board meetings are held here, and lots of teachers come in and out of the library through the day, bringing their classes down to either study or research different topics. I’m really very excited about this.”
The newly renovated library will also be in the best of hands when it is finished, according to Baumcratz.
“Our librarian, Mrs. Jennifer Barron, is one of the best. She prepares our kids to properly use resources and cite those sources and encourages them to grab a book and steers them in the direction of a book that’s going to fit their style or tastes.”
Barron is also looking forward to the library upgrade and what it will bring to the district.
“Our goal is to create a modern and collaborative space for the students in order to continue to promote that love of reading, research, and technology, as well as strengthen their sense of community,” Barron explained.
“The cafe, open concept, outdoor space, classroom, and STEM lab will bring excitement for students and teachers alike, allowing for greater flexibility and a multitude of uses. The library will also include a space for students to work independently or in a small group.”
The space envisioned for the renovated library will include areas where art students can work on their art projects on the patio and music students can perform in the cafe. She said that life, social, and marketing skills can be used to run the cafe, and science and technology students can use the maker-space to imagine and create. And of course, the library will always also be a place where students can just find a space to enjoy a good book, Barron noted.
Along with allowing more and new opportunities for students, the library will also continue to house the school’s library collection, which Barron noted is very current, meeting the needs and interests of students and supporting the school’s curriculum.
Overall, the many changes being made during the renovations are expected to be a big boon to the North Clarion community.
“We’re excited about that and all the benefits that this is going to bring for our kids,” Baumcratz said.
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